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On 25 January 2006 a Beech Aircraft Corporation 200 (King Air) aircraft was north bound en route from Essendon, Vic., to Shepparton, Vic. The aircraft was operating under the instrument flight rules (IFR) and was climbing to flight level (FL) 130. At the same time, an Airbus A320-232 (A320) aircraft was south-west bound en route from Sydney, NSW, to Avalon, Vic., and was on descent to FL130. The aircraft were in airspace that was being managed by the Melbourne Departures North controller (north controller). The King Air pilots were communicating with air traffic control on the Melbourne Departures South frequency. The A320 pilots were communicating with air traffic control on the Melbourne Approach East controller's (east controller's) frequency.

When the aircraft were about 10 NM east of Melbourne at FL130, Melbourne air traffic controllers realised that a potential for an infringement of separation existed and a short term conflict alert activated on their air situation displays. The controllers issued turn instructions to the crews of each aircraft, which preserved the required 3 NM radar separation minima. The east controller also issued traffic information on the King Air to the crew of the A320. A review of the recorded radar data showed that the two aircraft came within about 4 NM of each other.

Although there was no infringement of separation standards, the controllers concerned were not aware that a potential conflict existed between the two aircraft until avoiding action, initiated by air traffic control, was required in order to preserve the 3 NM radar separation standard. There was a breakdown in coordination between the east controller, the north controller and the south controller.

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General details
Date: 25 January 2006 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1755  
Location   (show map):13km NE Melbourne, Airport Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Victoria Occurrence type: Breakdown of co-ordination 
Release date: 05 March 2007 Occurrence class: Airspace 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer: Beech Aircraft Corp 
Aircraft model: 200 
Aircraft registration: VH-MWQ 
Serial number: BB-1416 
Type of operation: Aerial Work 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Essendon, Vic
Departure time:0653
Destination:Shepparton, Vic
Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer: Airbus Industrie 
Aircraft model: A320 
Aircraft registration: VH-VQQ 
Serial number: 2537 
Type of operation: Air Transport High Capacity 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Sydney, NSW
Departure time:0602
Destination:Avalon, Vic
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Last update 18 April 2018